The Green Manalishi (with the Two Prong Crown) - Fleetwood Mac
"Now when the day goes to sleep and the full moon looks,
the night is so black that the darkness cooks....."
This is not to say that Peter Green did not have mental health issues before the Munich incident. As is often the case with troubled minds, the warnings are there in his music right from the start, in the yearning allegory of his lyrics and the haunting, lonely tone of his guitar playing.
Manalishi is a word that Peter Green made up for the song. The sound of it rolling around the tongue is exotic and menacing, suffused with the mystery of demons and gremlins from a medieval Italian dark night, or a dream in a Roger Corman movie.
Peter Green said it's a song about the corrupting influence of money, which he equated with the devil. In 1969, the huge success of Fleetwood Mac had brought them a considerable income and Green had agreed with the band that they would would give it all to charity. One can imagine that "morning after" moment when he demanded they made good on their idealistic rush of blood. A massive quarrel ensued, and Green never forgave the other bandmembers for reneging on the idea and claimed that this was what inspired the song.
Listening now it's clear that he was really, whether consciously or unconsciously, telling us about his depressive schizophrenia and even the dark persona unleashed within him when he took certain drugs, the "green" of the manalishi being Green himself. It reads like the beginning of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.
Once again, one can only look back wistfully at a time when a song like this made the UK top ten.
Whether the song is about Green's depression,
"you come creeping around
making me do things I don't wanna do"
or his addiction,
"...just taking my love and slipping away, leavin' me here
just trying to keep from following you",
his disembodied vocal, the howling guitars and the ghoulish backing voices that sound like the Furies chasing Orestes, leave us in no doubt that this is the description of a tormented soul.